The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

  • by William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer
  • Narrated by Chike Johnson
  • 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger, and a place where hope and opportunity were hard to find.
Enchanted by the workings of electricity as a boy, William had a goal to study science in Malawi's top boarding schools. But in 2002, his country was stricken with a famine that left his family's farm devastated and his parents destitute. Unable to pay the 80-dollar-a-year tuition for his education, William was forced to drop out and help his family forage for food as thousands across the country starved and died.
Yet William refused to let go of his dreams. With nothing more than a fistful of cornmeal in his stomach, a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks, and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to bring his family a set of luxuries that only two percent of Malawians could afford and what the West considers a necessity--electricity and running water. Using scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves, William forged a crude yet operable windmill, an unlikely contraption and small miracle that eventually powered four lights, complete with homemade switches and a circuit breaker made from nails and wire. A second machine turned a water pump that could battle the drought and famine that loomed with every season.
Soon, news of William's magetsi a mphepo--his "electric wind"--spread beyond the borders of his home, and the boy who was once called crazy became an inspiration to those around the world.
Here is the remarkable story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.


What the Critics Say

"William Kamkwamba's achievements with wind energy should serve as a model of what one person, with an inspired idea, can do to tackle the crisis we face. His book tells a moving and exciting story." (Al Gore, former Vice President and Nobel Laureate)
"This exquisite tale strips life down to its barest essentials, and once there finds reason for hopes and dreams, and is especially resonant for Americans given the economy and increasingly heated debates over health care and energy policy." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A story of INGENUITY, richly narrated

Narrator Chike Johnson's warm and accurately-accented reading of William Kamkwamba's story makes me glad that I listened to it on audio rather than just reading it off a page. The beautiful East African accent is easy to understand and helps draw the listener into the story. Moreover, the endurance, resilience, and determination Kamkwamba demonstrates had me practically cheering through the second part of the book as he painstakingly gathers the materials for his windmill.
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- E Wagner

A Coming of Age Story with a Twist

This is a curious story (for those who like fiction), introduction to technology for the unitiated, and a coming of age tale. It is satisfying, informative and inspirational all at one time. This is the story og one William Kamkwamba who speaks little English. Despite that, he masters the basics of electricity through reading books he has available to him. In the mean time, there is a famine, he doesn't have the money to go to school, and he is teaching himself. In the end he harnesses the wind through the building of a windmill and "lives happily ever after."

This wonderful book is written by Kamkwamba with Bryan Mealer. The reading of Chike Johnson is just grand. Don't let this book get past you.

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- Roy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-02-2009
  • Publisher: HarperAudio